Current Research

Below are details of active and past projects.

Scientific integration and exploitation of ExoMars PanCam, CLUPI and ISEM 
2017 – 2020 UK Space Agency, Aurora Science, 36 months
(Co-PI: Matthew Gunn, Aberystwyth University)
Postdoctoral Researcher: Elyse Allender

Elyse recently conducted fieldwork in Iceland and Utah, USA to test ExoMars instrument emulators on Mars analogue terrains. This data will feed into a new analytical pipeline built into ENVI that will allow ExoMars scientists to analyse the multispectral elements of PanCam in conjunction with the Infrared Spectrometer for ExoMars.

Follow @AUPE_ExoMars and @else_elyse on Twitter

Chemolithotrophs on Mars: Metabolic Pathways and Biosignatures
2016 – 2020 UK Space Agency, PhD Studentship, 42 months
PhD Student: Arola Moreras Marti

Arola visited Iceland an impressive three times in 2017, collecting samples from Kverkfjoll and Kerlingarfjoll geothermal areas for her PhD research. She will use these to investigate how microbial communities in ice-fed hydrothermal systems fractionate sulfur and carbon stable isotopes.


Follow @ArolaMoreras on Twitter

Frozen but not forgotten: microbial habitability and preservation in planetary fluids
2016 – 2019 The Leverhulme Trust, 36 months
Postdoctoral Researcher: Mark Fox-Powell

Mark spent last summer collecting icy moon analogue samples from Lost Hammer spring in the Canadian High Arctic, and Geysir, Iceland. These samples will be used to experimentally investigate how microorganisms in such environments are preserved within salt minerals.


Follow @MarkFoxPowell on Twitter

Looking for life in the UV: Fluorescence as a new tool for planetary exploration
2016 – 2019 The Leverhulme Trust, 36 months
Postdoctoral Researcher: Boris Laurent

Boris has been collaborating with Aberystwyth University to investigate the low-temperature UV luminscence spectra of organic and inorganic planetary analogue materials. This work will feed into the development of future UV luminescence hyperspectral imagers and spectrometers destined for Mars and icy moons.


DeepHotMicrobe – life in the extremes in deep terrestrial crystalline crust
2016 – 2018 Säätiöiden post doc-pooli, 24 months
(PI: Lotta Purkamo, Univ. St Andrews)

In addition to her own research investigating microbial life in super-deep bedrock in Finland, Lotta is leading a project with Mark Fox-Powell and I to investigate the metagenome of microbial communities inhabiting Lost Hammer hypersaline spring.

Follow @MicroecoLotta on Twitter for project updates!

Luminescence Age Dating for In Situ Environments (LADIE)
2016 – 2018 UK Space Agency CREST-3, 24 months
(PI: Matthew Gunn, Aberystwyth University)

Remote detection of salts and habitability on Mars
June – Sept 2016 Carnegie Trust, 3 months
Postdoctoral Researchers: Mark Fox-Powell and Jen Harris

Looking for life on Mars: Analogue and technology-based approaches
2013 – 2018 Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Fellowship